Chinese scientists have found a rare plant species Paphiopedilum wardii Summerhayes in southwest China's Yunnan Province. It is the only known wild population of such plants in China.
The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
In early 2023, the staff of the Fugong management branch of the Gaoligong Mountains national nature reserve started a field investigation on Paphiopedilum.
On Feb. 27, researchers discovered a wild Paphiopedilum plant in the hillside grass at an altitude of more than 1,300 meters in the Gaoligong Mountains. It was identified as the rare species Paphiopedilum wardii Summerhayes by experts with the Institute of Botany under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"Since 2004, I have gone to the Gaoligong Mountains for some 100 field investigations and found more than 30 new species of Orchidaceae, but not a single wild plant of Paphiopedilum wardii Summerhayes," said Jin Xiaohua, a researcher from the institute.
According to Jin, the species is only distributed in southwestern Yunnan and northern Myanmar. Its flowering period is from December to March of the following year.